The owners of Kent’s newest II business – Tree City Coffee & Pastry – are excited to see city residents gathering alongside residents in an environment designed to make everyone feel like part of one community.
Co-owners Mike Beder, Evan Bailey and Brian Bower are excited to finally open the doors at 5:30 a.m. Monday to start serving up their eight different coffees, made-fresh-daily muffins and pastries and a unique selection of sandwiches made on fresh-baked breads.
Tree City Coffee collaborated with in Kent to create the Two Trees blend. The shop’s house blend is a direct trade coffee created through Solstice Coffee Tea Service in Cleveland.
Beder, Bailey and Bower have labored to create a space that appeals to Kentites’ interests in the environment, art and recycling – and in the shared pride of being a Kent resident. Their website isn’t up yet, but its name says a lot: rootedinkent.com.
“We wanted to create a true community coffeehouse experience,” Bailey said. “The social role of the coffee shop is about bringing people together in a place where community spirit seems to gel. That’s the objective. We want to be part of the fabric of the entire community.”
The business partners have dreamed up a variety of offerings catering to Kent’s diverse population.
For nostalgic townies: Remember the cream-cheese muffins served at the late Jerry’s Diner on South Water Street? Tree City Coffee & Pastry will be making them regularly.
For studious collegians: Around-the-clock “extended exam hours” for finals week at Kent State, meaning students can hit the books in a public place other than the library.
For kids (and the kid inside every adult): Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches better than mom makes. We’re talking organic peanut butter freshly ground daily, served with homemade jams, jellies and preserves on homemade bread.
For active-duty firefighters and police officers: A discount.
And for the convenience of those in a hurry: A drive-through window open year-round.
The coffeehouse, located in Suite 101 at 135 E. Erie St., offers a variety of seating for about 40. There are stools at a counter, tables and chairs, chunks of barn beams and handmade walnut benches. A couch will soon join the mix.
Bailey said the business partners used reclaimed wood for numerous pieces of handcrafted furniture and fixtures. A large hunk of cherry between 200 and 400 years old that forms the bar came from a barn built in 1805 near Mansfield.
“Nearly everything in there is custom or handmade. We tried to make it as local as possible, both in products and labor,” Bailey said.
At the center of the coffeehouse is a four-sided fireplace topped by an architectural metal sculpture. On the front wall of the shop is large garage door facing Erie Street that can be thrown open in warm weather “to bring the outside in,” Bailey said.
To create the atmosphere they were seeking, the shop’s partners turned to husband-wife designers Jason Turnidge and Kathryn Strand, both of whom work in the College of Architecture & Environmental Design at Kent State.
“They did a great job (exemplifying) the juxtaposition between ‘tree’ and ‘city,’” Bailey said, adding that the coffeehouse has an “industrial tech-ster meets Victorian warehouse vibe.”
Tree City Coffee & Pastry is open from 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Phone service to Acorn Alley II businesses has been delayed, but the coffeehouse will be keeping customers up-to-date on its Facebook page.